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Ch.4 Should Have Found Way to Keep Hairston

WIVB-TV

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It is a testament to the talent and popularity of former Channel 4 anchor-reporter Mylous Hairston that one obvious issue about his departure Thursday from WIVB-TV didn’t get any attention.

Hairston was the most visible African-American on-air figure on the top-rated station in town and perhaps in all of Buffalo television.

It wasn’t initially addressed because Hairston wasn’t thought of as a black anchor. He was thought of as an anchor.

“Which is what I always wanted to be thought of,” said Hairston Monday.

However, one might have thought that Channel 4’s management and ownership would have tried harder to keep Hairston because he is a minority.

“Some people might think that,” conceded Hairston. “The bottom line is all money.”

As I’ve written for years, the Buffalo market has had a terrible track record hiring black anchors and reporters.

Now that Hairston is off the air, Channel 4 has one black reporter – Al Vaughters.

Channel 2 has two black reporters – Claudine Ewing and newcomer Patrick Moussignac.

Channel 7, which used to be owned by an African-American company, has one black anchor-reporter in relative newcomer Kendra Eaglin. She is now the weekend anchor.

That’s it. There are four African-Americans on the air in all of the network affiliates that do local TV news.

That certainly doesn’t reflect the diversity of the community.

The stations do have other minorities. Channel 4 has Victoria Hong and Tricia Cruz. And Channel 2 has Heather Ly. That means there are a total of seven minorities on the air.

As we’ve all come to know, diversity is important in the news business. The people we see on television should reflect the community and bring their experiences to news meetings and coverage.

In the past, station management has repeatedly claimed that it is tough finding minority on-air talent and maybe even tougher finding minority talent that wants to stay in Western New York.

Of course, black talent here knew there would be little opportunity to anchor anywhere but weekends. It has been rare here for any black anchor to get a prime weekday slot.

A City Honors and Buffalo State College graduate, the 46-year-old Hairston had no problem staying here. That’s what he wanted after leaving town to gain TV experience.

“My whole goal was to come back and have my own newscast,” said Hairston. “Everything I set out to do, I was able to accomplish.”

And Channel 4 should have found a way to accomplish keeping him at the station and on the air.

  • On the first weekend without Hairston, Channel 4 sent out newcomer Nalina Shapiro to anchor. Hired right out of college, Shapiro has a promising future even if she stumbled more than a few times over the weekend and prematurely ended one newscast.

Having said that – which is one of Larry David’s favorite sayings – Shapiro and young weekend weathercaster Amelia Segal make Channel 4’s weekend news look like it is being done by a college TV station.  

 * If you missed a note added late to Monday’s column, the Oscars on Channel 7 slipped about 7 percent from 2010 to a 24.1 rating. Nationally, the Oscars slipped about 10 percent and even lost a part of the age 18-34 audience that hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway were supposed to attract.

pergament@msn.com  

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7 responses to "Ch.4 Should Have Found Way to Keep Hairston"

  1. Sally says:

    you’re forgetting kevin jolly at ynn…. that makes five. and tricia cruz is leaving wivb so that’s going to hcange that too.

  2. Dave says:

    We watched the WNLO newscast at 10 PM and Saturday and we missed Mylous. It was definitely amateur hour, with lots of stumbled lines and robotic reading. Losing Lisa Flynn and now Mylous Haiston has severely damaged WIVB’s reputation as a news leader.

    Frankly, WGRZ is doing a much better job with on-air talent, even if I can’t stand Jodie Johnston in the morning. John Beard has grown on me, and on weekends I really like Ron Plants in the evening. Josh Boose in the morning is good, even though I think his banter with Maria Genero borders on nauseating.

  3. Pergy's friend says:

    What’s going to be the new mandatory retirement age at Ch 4? 28?

  4. Tom W. says:

    An idea that Ch 2 could use is to get rid of “Lunch with the Classics” and move back the syndicated shows each an hour. Then use the 4-5pm slot as a new weekday 4pm newscast with Mylous Hairston. This way, WGRZ gains a veteran anchor/reporter (Moussignac has 12 years of reporting experience prior to Ch 2), and still keep a good lead-in from Ellen. It also gives Ch 2 more credibility as they seem to have the least turnover with staff. Combine that with Ch 4 losing Oprah this year as their lead-in and it would really help Ch 2 dominate in the ratings.

    Then if Ch 2 wanted to keep Lydia Dominic (formerly from WNLO), they could still do an entertainment segment with her during a 4-5pm show. They could also work fill-in meteorologist Mary Beth Wrobel into the mix as her and Mylous had great chemistry during the Ch 4 days.

  5. alanp says:

    Thanks Don. I know that. She still looks very inexperienced on the air.

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